A friend recently reminded me about this and it took me right back. Imagine Dragons played in Hamburg in October 2015, and while I was suffering from acute post-concert nostalgia a few weeks later, I stumbled upon this gem on YouTube. Do Imagine Dragons and Taylor Swift work? Yes, they do.
The band covers her hit single Blank Space in the BBC Radio1 Live Lounge and the result is basically enchanting. And kind of adorable.
It’s interesting to hear a song attached so firmly to one distinctive voice and style executed by other musicians, especially if it’s men singing what was originally performed by a woman and the other way around.
The band is visibly comfortable playing anywhere, being just as at home in a smaller, more intimate setting as in an arena teeming with thousands of fans. Clearly well-prepared as always and obviously enjoying their instruments and vocal contributions, their cover starts out in a pretty relaxed, but still playful, tempo that made me think of summer, looking back on what was and what was to come.
The seamless transition to Stand by Me surprised me initially, as I hadn’t known it was coming, but it is integrated perfectly in to the song and blends well with the story. “So, darling, darling, stand by me” sounds just a bit more rock as Dan Reynold’s voice gets louder and more gravelly, then calms down again. Imagine Dragons handles this cover with delicate precision, Wayne Sermon submerged in playing his guitar like only he can be, Ben McKee hitting all the right bass notes, Daniel Platzman giving it his all on the drums even if they are quieter and Dan Reynolds draping the lyrics “‘Cause we’re young and we’re reckless” with a new wistful energy. And they all sing.
At least after this everyone should know the oft-discussed lyric is definitely “Got a long list of ex-lovers”.